Updated: May 26, 2020
It seems that each time the short winter months roll around, I get the urge to minimize my wardrobe. I grew up as the kid that had a closet stuffed to the brim just simply because I wanted stuff. I have since transitioned into a woman that desires a wardrobe that is full of carefully chosen pieces. I believe that a common mistake that people make when thinking about minimizing a wardrobe is that it only has to do with getting rid of things. The best way to truly achieve a minimal wardrobe is to maintain minimalistic practices throughout shopping, dressing, and getting rid of pieces.
I don't know what it is that has you wanting to learn how to minimize your wardrobe but this post should provide you with a mindset and practical tips that can help you save space, save money, and save yourself stressful moments when trying to figure out what to wear in the morning. Here are 5 steps to help you minimize your wardrobe:
1. Don't keep things for sentimental reasons.
I put this step first because keeping things for sentimental reasons or keeping clothing because you MIGHT have an opportunity to wear them just creates clutter that you don't need to have in your closet. This can be really hard because we often associate memories with the clothing that we wore during those moments. But your closet is not the place to hold onto memories, it is meant to be a functional part of your life. For example, I recently went through my closet and realized that I had been holding on to a pair of brown leather heals that I wore at Caleb and I's wedding reception simply because I had worn them then. They aren't something from my wedding that I want to pass on to anyone and they were not a functional part of my wardrobe so I made the decision to donate them to the local thrift shop. If you've been holding onto old dresses, shoes, or anything else in your wardrobe for sentimental reasons that are not being worn, its time to let them go. Your memories do not depend on clinging to a piece of clothing.
2. Only keep and buy what you wear, what you need, and what brings you joy.
This mindset may seem simple but so often you hold onto things that you never wear because you believe that there might be an opportunity to wear it in the future. A big part of a minimal wardrobe starts when you are shopping for your clothes. Instead of buying things just because they are on sale or buying just to buy something new, be intentional and only purchase what is functional and needed in your wardrobe. There will always be occasions to buy something new, but if you purchase things that are versatile in the first place, then you can save yourself from always having to purchase a new outfit for every occasion.
Its also important to go through and get rid of the pieces that you are not wearing. Don't keep it if you don't wear it, even if you think you might in the future. More often than not you won't end up wearing in the future what you don't wear now.
Things that bring you joy in your wardrobe are obviously going to look different for everyone. I purchased a pair of gold hoops that have black pom poms on them last year because I'd seen someone wearing a similar style. I thought a lot about getting them because they weren't my normal style but since getting them, they are one of the only pairs of earrings I wear. They bring me joy and I always get compliments on how fun they are. Its so important to remember that your wardrobe is your own and you can choose the pieces that you love and bring you joy.
3. Have a set number you are willing to have of each piece of clothing
This is a step that I think can be follow both loosely and strictly. If you are really tight for space, choosing a low number for pieces you don't wear much is going to be a life saver. For my own wardrobe, I follow this step loosely and usually have two numbers I like to stay within. For example, I wear a lot of dresses so I like to only have between 10-15 dresses in my closet in any given season. However, I wear nice shorts and pants much less often, so having 3-5 pairs is enough for me. Think about all aspects of your wardrobe when thinking about this step. Are you a big yogi? So how many pairs of yoga tops and pants work for you while still keeping it small?
Socks and shoes are two categories in this step that are often over looked. Again, think about what you will really wear and only keep those pieces.
4. Assess your wardrobe each season
Every season the needs of your wardrobe change. In the summer you can wear swimwear, more dresses and lighter pieces, while in the winter you need coats and sweaters and warmer pieces. Often the first thing that society tells you to do when a new season approaches is that you need to buy new clothing to fit that season. But before you shop for anything new, assess what you already have in your closet. You will more than likely have more than you remember. Go through the pieces in your wardrobe and keep everything that you know you need, will wear, and what brings you joy. If you have pieces that don't fit or that you will not wear then donate or sell them. Only after doing this assessment of your wardrobes current state should you proceed with purchasing new pieces. And when you are shopping try to purchase items that would be functional for multiple seasons of the year. For example, a staple throughout every season in my wardrobe is this medium weight linen dress from Little Cottonwood. It is cool enough to wear with sandals in the summer, and warm enough that I wore it on Christmas Eve with a sweater. Functional pieces like this will help you to keep your wardrobe as minimal as possible.
5. Have a designate place where you and your family put things you are getting rid of
This step is something that my husband and I recently started and it is amazing to watch the pieces start to pile up until we are ready to sell or donate them. I usually collect all the pieces that we are purging from our wardrobe in a basket or bin and when that bin is full we know that it is time to take the clothes to the thrift shop. Sometimes it can help motivate you to continue minimizing when you see exactly how much your family is getting rid of. So find yourself a big basket or bin and get to minimizing!
I hope this this helps you learn how to minimize your wardrobe in 5 steps!
Slowly and Simply,